Also Sprach Qohelet

Qohelet--A redneck philosopher? A mad man with a Muse? An urban legend? Just one more griper with a keyboard and an ISP? Read on and find out. Qohelet opines on politics, religion, culture, and even sports. Qohelet is a modern renaissance man.

ALSO SPRACH QOHELET

A plethora of punditry, a smorgasboard of smack.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Qohelet's First Regular Feature

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to strengthen my vocabulary. Like a lot of Southern boys, born and bred, my vocabulary is just not all that strong. I do like to read a lot, though, and as I read I always come across new words. Usually, instead of taking an opportunity to learn, I just skip over it, pretend I know approximately what it means by the context, and then go on.

Not anymore.

From now on when I read a new word I'm going to jot it down, then look it up, and, to help me remember what it means I'm going to put the word, the definition, and the sentence I found it in right here in this blog space. I'll even plagiarize a little from Reader's Digest and call it "Strengthen Your Vocabulary." Most of you readers (all three of you) will probably just scratch your heads and say "He didn't know that?" But maybe, just maybe I'll find a word or two that are new for you too.

Now, here are our words for today. The definitions are from Webster's New World College Dictionary.

augury // 1 divination from omens 2 an omen; portent; indication

The sentence: "The ability to see into the future, to use augury to find what is lost, to cast benevolent spells, to interpret dreams, were all part of daily life."


fey // 1 [Now Chiefly Scot.] a) orig., fated; doomed to death b) in an unusually excited state, formerly believed to portend sudden death 2 strange or unusual in any of certain ways, as, variously, eccentric, whimsical, visionary, elfin, shy, otherworldly

The sentence: "Among the Celts there have always been 'fey' people, who are said to have 'the sight'"


oriel // a large window built out from a wall and resting on a bracket or a corbel; bay window

The sentence: "There he found one orieled window. It had an air of privacy, of peace."

Maybe I'll learn ya'll somethin' yet.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Saddam Hussein - R.I.P.

Saddam Hussein is dead and I thought that was at least worth a blogpost. Has anyone watched the video of it yet? I haven't. I'm sure I could find it if I went looking for it, but I'm out of popcorn right now anyway, so maybe later.

Anyway, some thoughts:

1. It's about time.

2. Wouldn't it be nice if the US of A could somehow manage to bring swift justice on its own cold-blooded murderers? Why does it take us twenty years if we even manage to do it at all?

3. The libs, of course, are crying about how cruel it all was--and of course blaming the cruelty on GWB. How dumb is that? The Iraqis are the ones who executed the sentence, not the GOP.

4. BTW - "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." - Genesis 9:6.

5. What, exactly, is cruel or unusual about hanging?

6. One wonders why the libs didn't seem to mind the way in which Saddam cruelly tortured and murdered his own citizens.

7. Anyone ever notice how the libs are always the criminal dictator's best friend? They admire these men, defend them in the arena of ideas, even takes sides with them against American interests.

8. And these same people hated Hitler?

9. I would not have been surprised to hear that Jimmy Carter attended the funeral. In the liberal, peanut-growing, southern Baptist Georgian ex-presdient's mind, Hussein was probably only misunderstood and way down deep had good intentions that would have come out if the mean republican Bushes had only reached out to him in appeasement. By golly, we could use ol' born again Jimmy in the White House again, couldn't we?

10. This reminds me. I need to blog on Jimmy Carter.



More later.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Where I've Been

Sorry, folks, about not being around for a few days. As the commercial says, life comes at you fast, sometimes. Anyway, give me a few days to track down that yahoo who posted yesterday and figure out how to keep him from throwing a wrench in the machinery around here and I'll get back to posting more regular. You can bet yer sweet you-know-what I've already changed my blogger username and password so try to get in here again you scallywag!

Anyhow, for those of you who were wondering where I might have been, I had a wedding to go to. My cousin got hitched over the New Years Day weekend and I drove down to Louisiana to be a witness.

Here's their photo:



I went for the ceremony and stayed a little while for the reception but left when they started getting the shotguns out. Guns and Keystone light just don't mix well. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and hopefully we can get back to some quality smack in a day or two.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Where has Qohelet been?

Good question.

First, this is not Qohelet writing this. That's right. I am actually just a regular reader and part-time hacker and since the mangy red-neck hasn't posted anything in awhile I decided I had better do something. So remember, the guy writing this isn't Qohelet. But I ain't gonna go tellin' who I am 'cause I don't want any black helicopters circling around my trailer like last time.

Never mind about that.

So I gotta ask this question. Where is Qohelet? Is he in hiding because his beloved Catlick football team got their hineys kicked in the Sugar Bowl?

Did he overdose on holiday eggnog?

Did he get off his lazy rear end and get a job?

(Is he even capable of finding and maintaining gainful employment?)

Did he drink too much of this and fall off his bass boat and drown?

Did the Gators get him? (Oh, that was Ohio State that got eaten by Gators. Never mind.)

Did some TeamPyro groupies hunt him down and skin him?

I think somebody needs to smack his smorgasboard and get him back into blogdom. But that's just me. And since I'm just some anonymous dude who hacked in here and posted this you'll never know who "me" is.

So, just how much will someone offer me for Qohelet's username and password? Hahahahahahahahahhahahahhahahahahhahhaaa!!!!!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Noose Is Out

Saddam Hussein will be in hell, maybe by Friday. Link



Adios.

Reformers? Puritans? Pragmatists? Pyromaniacs?

Because I can comment here without getting deleted and because I never got an answer to my questions over at Pyromaniacs concerning Dan's last post, and because Paul and Candy have convinced me that they are not all of them mean over there, I thought I'd post a couple of comments over here.

I never said which side of the debate I was on. I did say that I celebrate Christmas, and that I did so for many of the same reasons that Dan put in his post. However, what Dan and Frank both fail to do over there is to take into account the regulative principle. If you are not familiar with the regulative principle, then I recommend you go over to that particular link and read it. If you're like me, and don't like running all over the Internet and back before finishing one particular article, then here is a snippet from that page which I think sums up the regulative principle well:
"Simply the Regulative Principle States this: True worship is only commanded by God; false worship is anything not commanded. This was the Puritan’s view of worship."
Now, with that in mind, it is easy to see why the Puritans rejected the celebration of Christmas as a "holy day." It was not just that it smacked of Rome and that they were distancing themselves from all things Rome, although I don't dismiss the idea that this may have been at work as a psychological factor. No, they had Scripture and sound reason for their rejection of Christmas. It was the same argument, by the by, that they used to dismiss all of the Roman Catholic holy days and saint days. That reason was this: none of those holy days was commanded.

The arguments Frank and Dan make for the religious celebration of Christmas, are the very same arguments that Rome made--against the Puritans and Reformers who held to the regulative principle--for all of her holy days and saints days. They are pragmatic arguments. Ironic, isn't it? John MacArthur has for a long time spoken out against the pragmatism that drives much of evangelical enterprise, pointing out its dangers, calling the evangelical church back to principle. Yet, on Phil Johnson's blog, the one that promotes all things MacArthur, they have taken the opposite stand on this issue. They ignore biblical principle--specifically the regulative principle--and argue for Christmas based on purely pragmatic arguments. Am I wrong in my assessment? TeamPyro is arguing against the Puritans and using Rome's arguments to do so.

That's not an attempt at guilt by association, by the way, either. Not everything that Rome says or does is wrong. Rome does, for example, make eloquent arguments for the Trinity and the deity of Christ and the hypostatic union. Not everything Rome does or says is wrong, obviously. But wouldn't you agree that it is at least noteowrthy that in this particular case, those whom Boar's Head Tavern patrons refer to snidely as the "truly reformed" are taking their stand with Rome and against their Puritan forbears on this issue?

God gave us holy days, said the Puritans, fifty-two of them. It is presumptious for us to go beyond what is commanded and add to that. When we do, how are we different than the two sons of Aaron who brought strange fire into the tabernacle and offered it on the altar of incense? I'm sure they had pragmatic reasons for doing so also. The bottom line is, we don't worship God the way we want, we worship God the way He commands.

I post these thoughts here because they can't be deleted by the hyper-sensitive and because I don't think that those two sanctimonies over there have even thought this thing all the way through. I think that Dan even takes it as a personal affront if anyone even questions his assertions or conclusions. I could be wrong.

Now, please pardon me while I go take down my Christmas tree and put up decorations. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Wrath of Team Pyro--Setting the Record Straight

Dan Phillips and Frank Turk over at Pyromaniacs have tagged me as an official trouble-maker and I have incurred their wrath and reprimand. I contend that it's a misunderstanding on their part. Nevertheless, they have taken it upon themselves to censure me by partially censoring me. Because Dan made the following comments about two of my comments--after deleting them--and because I want to set the record straight, I am going to post the contents of one of those deleted posts here, and then briefly explain the other one since I had not as yet saved it when he deleted it.

First, here is Dan's comment directed toward me after deleting my two posts:

Qohelet -- repeating the same snide insinuations and sneering snipes, however eloquently and at length, does not meet my definition of "knock it off." So it, and related posts, are gone.

Stay, go, whatever. You're free. Just like the service Pyro provides. If you won't apologize for the behavior I singled out (which had nothing to do with diverting to the propriety of Christmas celebrations), don't.

Just stop repeating it. I mean it.

Sadly, I had only saved one of those two deleted comments in my own records, but I will gladly post it here for you to judge whether or not what I had written was deserving of the railing accusations Dan made, and continues to make, against me. Here is the deleted comment, word for word:

Dearest Dan and Turk,

You guys get your dander up way too fast. Honestly and truly. I don't know any other way to put it.

Dan, I liked your post enough to link it in case any gospel-needy people wandered by my obscure corner of blogdom in search of the true meaning of Christmas. I guess trolls do that on a regular basis, don't they?

As for apologies, what exactly have I done that was offensive? Perhaps my mistake was not recognizing just how tightly wound you guys are. I have read this blog for a little while longer than you might think. When I started my own blog, this was the first blog I linked under the heading of religious blogs. I did so because I consider it relevant, substantive, and usually a lot of fun. My first comment was not meant with ill will at all, it was meant to embody what I perceive is often the spirit of the blog--one of good-natured joviality mixed with serious Bible teaching and discussion of issues relevant to evangelicalism.

I thought Frank initially took my comment that way (in a jovial way)and because he referenced me personally in his next post I responded again. At that time I mentioned more than once that I appreciated the exhortation, then attempted to communicate once again in what I (mistakenly?) perceived to be the spirit of the place--jovial. Phil chimed in about then and made some friendly and appreciative remarks.

I understand that you guys are not responsible for the commenters here, so I'm not holding you responsible for farmboy, who seems like a nice enough guy, but just doesn't get it yet that I was not, am not, and have not attacked this blog. If I had wanted to, I could have taken him and his analysis apart. Instead, I thought it would be more fun just to toy with him and not take him seriously at all. Should I apologize for that?

Then, in Phil's light-hearted holiday post he again mentioned me--in a jovial way--and his humor was again appreciated. Since I was again mentioned on the front page, I don't think anyone should construe my participation in the comments of that post to be some attempt to take over the comment thread and make it about me or my issues.

As for this particular post from Dan, I thought it was very good. That's why I linked it in my own blog. Do I have to preface any questions about any assertions in any given post by first saying how wonderful the guy is who posted it? Do you guys really need to be stroked that much?

Dan made particular assertions at the end of his blogpost, assertions which I quoted. Those assertions were intended to make the case for the celebration of Christmas. Am I right or wrong?

I celebrate Christmas. I celebrated it this year and every year. I celebrate it for many of the same reasons Dan so elequently pointed out in his post. It also happens to be the case, however, that I know something of the history of the Christmas debate and how our Puritan ancestors did not celebrate it. I also know their arguments. My only motive in posing one of those arguments to you, Dan, was to see how someone who has obviously thought about this issue more than me would respond to that argument.

It was not to attack you.
It was not to embarass you.
It was not to take over the comments thread for my own agenda.

I contend that the question was on-target, on-subject, and relevant to an assertion you made in the post. I'm not contending with you, Dan. I agree with you. I just want to know how to answer--how you would answer--those who would put forth the objection I articulated.

By the way, I wasn't even the first one on this thread to put forward that question. dyslexic fundamentalist was dismissed out of hand as well. But, again, I assert that the questions were honestly asked in response to the assertions made at the end of the post.

If all you want are high-fives, let me know. If you are honestly seeking to minister, however, then why not do that? If I am unworthy of your ministry and unwelcome, just let me know and I'll chart my course for more friendly waters.

The second deleted comment was directed mostly toward someone going under the name "farmboy", with whom I was mostly trying to offer an apology and hoping for some sort of truce or reconciliation. In that comment I pointed out that my sense of humor might be warped and quoted a Proverb in my own defense. As I did so, I made the remark that I was trying to beat Dan to the punch at quoting Proverbs. I said that because in an earlier comment in that same thread Dan had made the following snide remarks directed at me:

"And you've been crying (or, strictly, raging and laughing [Proverbs 29:9]) about it ever since?"

For the record, Proverbs 29:9 reads:
If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.
In that comment, Dan directly called me a fool (and himself a "wise man," did you catch that?). I did not respond in kind. The only thing I said to farmboy after my citation of Proverbs--the Proverb that says "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine"--was that I did it to beat Dan to the Proverbs punch, and that if Dan quoted Ecclesiastes I would then have to call him "Qohelet." For those of you who don't get that comment, the verse I had in mind in Ecclesiastes was this one:
Eccles. 7:6 (KJV)
For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.
The reason I made the remark about having to call Dan "Qohelet" if he quoted Ecclesiastes is because "Qohelet" is the Hebrew title for the author of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes--translated "the Preacher" in the KJV. I suspect Dan knew that.

After I posted those two comments, Dan came along and deleted them both, then said:
"Qohelet -- repeating the same snide insinuations and sneering snipes, however eloquently and at length, does not meet my definition of "knock it off." So it, and related posts, are gone.

Stay, go, whatever. You're free. Just like the service Pyro provides. If you won't apologize for the behavior I singled out (which had nothing to do with diverting to the propriety of Christmas celebrations), don't.

Just stop repeating it. I mean it."
Now, do you see anything in my deleted posts deserving of the libelous statements made by Dan? What am I missing? I posted nothing deserving of being characterized as "snide insinuations and sneering snipes." Yet, that assessment remains on the board over at Teampyro while my actual comments are gone. Meanwhile, he's the one who called me a fool and he's the one making direct, explicit negative remarks toward me. Anyone who happens along now will assume that his remarks about the deleted posts are true and never even have the chance to examine the evidence. That's why I've tried my best to replace the deleted comments here--to set the record straight.

I made no intentionally snide comments or sneering snipes at Teampyro, Dan, or Frank. They have misjudged me and libeled me. The thing that saddens me most, I think, is the thought that I may not be the first they have done this to, that they have misjudged and mishandled others to whom they might have had effective ministry. I'll be fine. I'm a big boy. I'll find friendlier waters and go on. But it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Oh well, I think I'll go read a book and come back tomorrow before re-doing the links in my sidebar. I'll probably even delete this post in a day or so and wash my hands of the whole thing.

Matthew 5:21-24 (ESV)
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' [22] But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire. [23] So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, [24] leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Random thoughts on a snowy Christmas evening

Can you picture it? There's a fire on the hearth. The only lights are from the fire, the Christmas lights that are still on and visible through the front window, and the LCD screen of my laptop as I sit here in my recliner contemplating the end of a good Christmas day.



No, there isn't actually any snow outside, I made that part up. Come on, people. You know that I live in the South--we never have a white Christmas. But it was a nice thought, wasn't it? I bet there's some people in Denver that wouldn't mind switching places with me for a day or three.



So as I sit here I thought I might as well share some of my random thought processes with you. Here goes.

There's just nothing better than seeing the eyes light up on a child when he receives the perfect Christmas gift, you know, the one he's dreamed about for months. Superbly delightful.

If there is something finer than that, it would have to be the sight of a mighty fine woman dressed in holiday garb happily going about preparing the holiday meal. Is there anything I can help you with, honey? Oh yeah.

Is there a greater holiday classic than National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation?

Ever notice how many Southern Baptists get all riled up every year over whether or not some privately owned business like Wal-Mart says "Merry Christmas" or not, or whether some poor soul prints "X-mas" instead of "Christmas" on something, then at the same time they won't show up for church if it falls on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? "Come on, Pastor, it's a holiday!" they say. Is this the same dude that's been preaching "Keep Christ in Christmas" for the last three or four weeks? Yeah, I hear you.

Have you noticed how many people "believe" this time of year? They believe. Yes, sir. I was watching a network game show earlier. Yes, I'm ashamed to admit, but I was. Not that I think there's anything wrong, per se, with game shows, I'm just embarrassed for you to think that I might actually find them worth my time. But, since I was at someone else's house, and it was on, and they were watching it, and I was intrigued, there it was. I dis-remember what the show was called, but there was this bald-headed California dude, a bunch of young women holding metal suit cases, a sinister banker behind the scenes, and contestants trying to make deals for money. Both these dudes, these contestants, had something in common, besides their ability to make themselves look dumb on television. That was this--they believed. I watched nearly two hours of this show, and I'm telling you these dudes had strong faith. They were definitely believers. I'm still not sure, though, what it was they actually believed or who it was they believed in. But, their faith was so strong it was contagious, because some of those babes holding the boxes were, by the end of the show, expressing their faith, too. Yes, sir. Everyone is a believer on Christmas day. One guy kept saying, "If you believe, you'll achieve." He won less money than the other dude did. Meanwhile, I kept thinking to myself, Believe in what?

I guess it doesn't matter to some people what they believe in, as long as they believe. It just blesses your innards, don't it? We live in a culture of faith. (Either that or we live in a society full of idiots, but I'll leave that judgment up to you readers. I hate to say something that mean on Christmas day.)

Okay, I'll just say it. We live in a society full of idiots. If your faith is not grounded in something solid, it is foolishness. In fact, when there is something solid out there to anchor your faith in, and instead you put it in vain, empty things, that's just stupidity. Worse than that, when you consider that the truth is out there, is knowable, and you are commanded to believe it, but don't, instead believing in something silly, that's just downright rebellious and sinful. There's nothing warm and fuzzy about it.

Oh, well. Thank God there is something solid, something substantive we can wrap our minds and hearts around to believe in, something that will get us through dry seasons and the rainy days and the stormy months and (have I used all the weather metaphors up yet?) That something is what the season was originally about when it was adopted by the medieval Christians and that something is what Dan over at Pyromaniacs took the time to write about and post today. God bless the gospel and the beautiful feet of those who proclaim it. You can read Dan's post here.

The gospel, now there's something worth believing in. That other faith those game-show contestants had on display ain't worth the time it would take to sand-blast it and slap a "For Sale" sign on it.

Speaking of TeamPyro. Do those guys live in a war zone or something? Seems to me they're just a little bit hyper-sensitive to some commenters--a bit jumpy or eager to be offended, like somebody's been shootin' at 'em a bunch. Lighten up, guys. Not everyone's out to get you. Can we ask questions without getting the business? Can we be tongue-in-cheek without being misjudged as malcontents with malicious hearts?

Here, in the spirit of the season let me offer you a Christmas gift from Also Sprach. Take two of these and call me in the morning:



Now, feel better? Merry Christmas!